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On Jan. 18, 2017, Tyler Perry was honored as Favorite Humanitarian at the People's Choice Awards in Los Angeles.

Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for People's Choice Awards.

Perry's nonprofit, the Perry Foundation, has funneled millions of dollars toward groups like Charity Water and Feeding America as well as taken aim at ending homelessness and supporting civil rights issues.


On stage accepting the honor, Perry began his speech on a somewhat peculiar topic: the safety regulations of the building he was standing in.

It's standard the facility abides by important rules, Perry noted, like having a sprinkler system in place and fire extinguishers at hand, should they be needed. But he also mentioned what would happen if, suddenly, the lights were to go out.

"If the lights go out in this building right now, there are these little lights — you see them on the wall, they have back-up batteries in them," Perry explained. "And what will happen is, it will light your way out of the darkness."

Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for People's Choice Awards.

Those battery-powered lights, he argued, can teach us an important life lesson.

Perry's speech focused on becoming a positive force for good in other people's lives when they need it most.

“What I have found, and what’s been so important to me right now, is that — as I look at the state of the world and the state of our country and everything that is going on, it is so important that we know that no matter how dark it gets, we all have to be light for each other."

Perry sat next to Ellen DeGeneres, who won Favorite Humanitarian at the 2016 People's Choice Awards. Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for People's Choice Awards.

Perry continued (emphasis added):

"You turn on your phone, you turn on your television, you’re met with darkness, negativity, death, destruction, terrorism, murder, hate, racism. You know, you don’t even need to search for it, because it’s searching for you. It can find you. It’s right there beside you; it’s in your pocket. You have to be careful — when you have things that close to your pocket that they don’t seep into your heart.

You see, if you keep taking it in, it can consume you; it can make you become cynical and jaded and remove you from all of the struggles of our brothers and sisters and look at them and think, "Well, it’s just another person going through.' But what is so important that we all understand is no matter what everybody's going through, anybody’s going through, we’re all going through it together."

Perry's speech, given just two days before President-elect Donald Trump takes office, was especially relevant.

For plenty of people tuning in, there are many questions and even more anxieties about what the future holds. A divisive, controversial election fueled by bigotry and scapegoating lead to a bitter presidential transition, and several marginalized groups are feeling more scared than ever before thinking about what comes after Jan. 20, 2017.

Perry's speech illustrated the power of thinking selflessly, especially in times like these.

There are many ways to turn that fear of the dark into something positive: volunteer, protest, become an ally, stay engaged, donate to causes you believe in, and — as Perry encouraged — be a guiding light when it's needed most.

"If the power’s going out in your life or in somebody’s life around [you], and they don’t know if they can find their way out, be that light for them," Perry concluded. "Let your light shine before them."

Watch Perry's full speech at the People's Choice Awards below:

10/10. The Mayyas dance.

We can almost always expect to see amazing acts and rare skills on “America’s Got Talent.” But sometimes, we get even more than that.

The Mayyas, a Lebanese women’s dance troupe whose name means “proud walk of a lioness,” delivered a performance so mesmerizing that judge Simon Cowell called it the “best dance act” the show has ever seen, winning them an almost instant golden buzzer.

Perhaps this victory comes as no surprise, considering that the Mayyas had previously won “Arab’s Got Talent” in 2019 and competed on “Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions.” But truly, it’s what motivates them to take to the stage that’s remarkable.

“Lebanon is a very beautiful country, but we live a daily struggle," one of the dancers said to the judges just moments before their audition. Another explained, “being a dancer as a female Arab is not fully supported yet.”

Nadim Cherfan, the team’s choreographer, added that “Lebanon is not considered a place where you can build a career out of dancing, so it’s really hard, and harder for women.”

Still, Cherfan shared that it was a previous “AGT” star who inspired the Mayyas to defy the odds and audition anyway. Nightbirde, a breakout singer who also earned a golden buzzer before tragically passing away in February 2021 due to cancer, had told the audience, “You can't wait until life isn't hard anymore before you decide to be happy.” The dance team took the advice to heart.

For the Mayyas, coming onto the “AGT” stage became more than an audition opportunity. Getting emotional, one of the dancers declared that it was “our only chance to prove to the world what Arab women can do, the art we can create, the fights we fight.”

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